EKU unbeaten in pool play heading into ASUN semifinals
Colonels defeat Jacksonville 5-2 to go 3-0 in ASUN tournament pool play
FORT MYERS, Fla. – (EKU Sports) – Eastern Kentucky University’s baseball team beat Jacksonville University, 5-2, on Friday to complete pool play at the ASUN Conference Tournament with a perfect 3-0 record.
As winners of Pool B, the Colonels will play No. 1 seed Liberty in the ASUN Tournament semifinals on Friday at 11 a.m. The game will be played at Swanson Stadium on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University.
The Colonels are now 38-19 this season. It’s the most wins for an EKU team since the 1990 squad won 42 games.
All seven runs scored in Thursday’s game came in the fifth inning. With one out in the top of the fifth, Max Williams doubled to right center for EKU. He moved to third on a ground out. Logan Thomason walked and Nico Montes was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Conner Davis broke the scoreless tie with a two-run single to center. Khalil Bell followed with an RBI single to left. Michael Goehrig’s double to right center plated two more runs and put Eastern Kentucky on top 5-0.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Josh Steidl hit a 2-run home run for the Dolphins (27-28), but neither team scored again.
Cameron Kalandros started for EKU and allowed two runs on three hits in five innings of work. He earned the win to move to 4-0 on the season. The foursome of Jordan Fox, Christian Jones, Quinton Hall and Brock Blanton provided four innings of scoreless relief. Fox pitched two and two-thirds.
Goehrig finished 2-or-4 with two RBIs. Davis was 2-for-5 with a run and two driven in. Williams had two hits and scored once. Montes went 1-for-2 with a run and two walks. Bell had a 1-for-3 day with a walk, a run and an RBI.
Steidl was 3-for-3 with a run and two RBIs for Jacksonville.
The ASUN Tournament began with pool play, consisting of two pools of four teams each. Teams played three games – one each against each team in its pool. Three teams advanced to the semifinals from Pool A – Liberty, Lipscomb and Kennesaw State – to join Pool B winner EKU. Kennesaw State and Lipscomb will play in the second semifinal at 3 p.m. The ASUN Championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.
INSIDE THE SERIES
– The series between EKU and Liberty is tied 1-1.
– The two teams played twice in 1988. The Flames won the first game 6-5 on March 15 before the Colonels won the second game 6-5 on March 18.
– EKU is 38-19 overall. Despite being picked in the preseason poll to place eighth overall, the Colonels earned a share of the ASUN West Division Championship with a 20-10 league mark.
– Kendal Ewell leads Eastern Kentucky with a.371 batting average, 14 home runs and 55 runs scored. He is second on the team in RBIs (51) and stolen bases (11).
– Over the last 16 games, the Colonel pitching staff has compiled a 3.73 ERA, including a 1.67 ERA in three ASUN Tournament games. During that same span, the starters have a 3.13 ERA, have allowed only 57 hits in 69 innings, and have held opponents to a .227 batting average.
– Max Williams is hitting .500 with four runs in three ASUN Tournament games. He has scored 17 runs and driven in 13 in his last 16 games.
– EKU leads the ASUN in walks drawn (289), is second in home runs (68), fourth in on-base percentage (.375), fourth in runs (367), fifth in slugging (.432) and fifth in doubles (99).
– Rese Brown, the reigning ASUN Pitcher of the Week will start on the mound for the Colonels. The sophomore right-hander is 6-3 with a 3.31 ERA. He has struck out 77 and walked only 27 in 73 and one-third innings. In his last four starts, Brown is 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA, averaging 6.9 innings per start.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
– Liberty is 36-20 overall, posted a 19-11 record in the ASUN and is 38th in the nation in the RPI. The Flames tied Kennesaw State for first place in the East Division.
– Liberty went 3-0 in pool play. The Flames beat No. 4 seed Florida Gulf Coast (4-3), No. 3 seed Kennesaw State (12-6) and No. 2 seed Lipscomb (10-2).
– Right fielder Aaron Anderson leads the team with a .324 batting average. He has also scored 41 runs and driven in 41. First team all-conference designated hitter Brady Gulakowski has a team-best 16 home runs and 63 RBIs to go along with a .267 average and 41 runs. Center fielder Derek Orndorff has hit .268 with a team-high 58 runs in addition to 14 home runs and 45 RBIs.
– The Liberty pitching staff leads the conference in strikeouts (574) and ERA (4.00).
– The Flames scored the third most runs in the conference this season (392). Liberty’s defense has the second best fielding percentage, behind EKU, in the ASUN.
– Joe Adametz III, a first team all-conference selection, will start for Liberty. The junior lefty is 6-3 with a 2.02 ERA. He has allowed 80 hits in 75 and two-thirds innings, but has only given up 27 runs and has struck out 86.